by Justin Phillips
As chiropractors, the daily challenges we face commonly fall into certain recognizable patterns that many patients present with. These patterns or symptoms are most commonly low back pain, neck pain, and headaches just to name a few. However, this is not always the case. The rib cage is an area that goes overlooked often when it shouldn’t because it is critical to the stability of the spine. Rib joint misalignments or subluxations are common but can be tricky to catch.
It is important to remember that the ribs attach at both the spine, as well as the sternum and their primary functions are to protect the lungs and support the spine. Because there are 2 attachment sites, they can “slip out” in either place. More commonly, ribs misalign posteriorly, or at the spinal attachment, and this can cause a few of the following symptoms:
- Dull achy pain
- Tenderness during palpation
- Sharp, stabbing pain (if more serious)
- Shortness of breath
- Pain with coughing/sneezing
- Sharp pain when taking a deep breath
It is important to remember that rib adjustments usually are not painful, however, it is common to be sore the following day but afterwards tend to feel better quickly. Making sure the ribs remain in the correct position can be tricky depending of the severity of the misalignment. Most rib subluxations can be corrected in just 2 or 3 visits. However, if you are suffering from a chronic condition (lasting weeks-months), correction can take up to 2-3 weeks. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your family chiropractor immediately because your recovery will greatly depend on how quick your spine and rib joints are re-aligned.